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Our day at Ascot – Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup 2013

Ascot Shergar Cup 2013 Parade Ring

There are some opportunities in life that are just too good to let them pass you by. Visiting Ascot Racecourse is one of these opportunities, so when we were invited to the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Club 2013, I instantly agreed to attend. Then I started worrying about the dress code and then about taking an active toddler. I mean, what does one wear to Ascot and what was I thinking when I agreed to bring a 2 year old?

Ascot Shergar Cup 2013 Ascot Grand Stand and Premier Admission Ascot Stadium and Ranks

Being German means that I had literally no idea about what happens at a horse race apart from horses racing obviously. I didn’t know how many races there are, where the horses and jockeys are from and how the whole betting works. All I knew about horse races was that the Queen likes them and that Ascot is a biggy in the horse racing world. If I am completely honest, it was the only horse race that I had ever heard of before going and no, I’m not living under a rock. It’s just not something I had ever been introduced to.

Ascor Shergar Cup Parade Ring 2

When we arrived in Ascot, the entire town was buzzing with excitement. Well dressed ladies and gentlemen lined the streets, carried picnic baskets and champagne bottles and made their way down the high street. We parked in one of the car parks close to the race course and paid £6 for the day, which is a really fair price considering where you are. After picking up our tickets, we made our way through the west entrance and spent a couple of minutes near the parade ring – taking it all in and soaking up the atmosphere. The whole stadium was much much bigger than I had anticipated and there was so much to do for all the family.Amy meets Ascot mascot at Ascot Shergar Cup 2013

Amy loved watching all the horses walk past, but when she met the Ascot mascot, she quickly changed her mind. First she frowned, then she shouted no and then she started hiding her face and big crocodile tears made an appearance, bless her. She quickly got over herself and started enjoying the day though.

Andrea at Ascot Shergar Cup 2013

We had agreed to meet up with my friend Andrea from All You Need Is Love And Cake and it was lovely to share the day with her and her little family. Andrea and I have known each other for almost three years through and online baby group, but this was actually the first time we had met. We instantly clicked in real life and had a great time chatting and laughing, while Ben and Andrea’s partner Michael chatted about which horse to bet on and Amy and little Sophie chased around the Grand Stand.
Mummy Barrow at Ascot Shergar Cup 2013

We were given Premier Admission tickets, which allow you to access almost every area of the race course, but as we had the girls with us, we decided to spend the afternoon in the Grand Stand and let them run around. And guess what, despite thousands of people, we managed to find Mummy Barrow and her lovely husband Bruce, who sat right in front of us – something that I only noticed because I was chasing after Amy. What a lovely surprise! Amy and Sophie at Ascot Shergar Cup 2013

Amy and Sophie had an absolute blast. They gave each other kisses and cuddles, shared crisps and grapes and stared at the screen in disbelief when the crowd started cheering for their horses. I think it was quite an experience for them, but they were good as gold throughout the entire day and I really think they enjoyed themselves. I was worried about taking Amy initially, as I thought she might get bored or disturb other race goers, but everyone was really welcoming and the two girls got lots of smiles and compliments for their pretty dresses. Ascot Shergar Cup 2013 horse walked around parade ring

The parade ring was one of my favourite parts of the race course as it brought us really close to the horses and their grooms. It’s the place where the horses must come before the race, so that the public can see, if the horse is in good shape and it’s the place where they are prepared for their race.

Amy drawing and colouring in at Family Day at Ascot Shergar Cup 2013

To the left and right of the parade ring, you can find a number of small cafes and bars that invite you to relax in the sun. There were also some rides for older kids and lots of little stalls, so really something for all ages and the entire family. We had a light lunch at a picnic table while Amy and Sophie drew some horses and played in a small soft play area, before we walked over towards the Old Paddock and Motivator lawn for the concert in the evening. 
dress code women at ascot fascinator hat

It was absolutely heaving and as we both had the girls in buggies towards the end of the day, we decided to stay nearer the stadium and listen to the concert from the distance. Bands like Atomic Kitten, Blue and 80s star Rick Astley created a great atmosphere and we had a great time singing along to their hits while the girls had a little boogey.
Ben at Ascot Shergar Cup 2013

Our day at Ascot was also the perfect occasion to dress up and Ben really enjoyed wearing a suit jacket and shirt whereas I hated the idea of wearing a dress. I know that I could have worn a trouser suit or something, but I had this idea in my head that anything less than a dress wasn’t acceptable, so I forced myself to wear one and let me tell you something: I’m feeling much more comfortable about it now than I did before, so I might actually end up wearing it more often.
Amy wearing a fascinator at Ascot Shergar Cup 2013 dress code for children

Amy took to the Ascot dress code like a fish to water by the way. She even borrowed Andrea’s fascinator to look like all the ladies she admired. How cute does she look? I was so pleased that it was such a child-friendly day as it meant that we could all enjoy it in our own way. Amy and Sophie became the best of friends throughout the day and enjoyed each other’s company, while we adults did exactly the same – just with some excellent horse races thrown into the mix. Amy and Sophie were maybe a little young to understand it all – I might be too seeing as betting still seems like rocket science to me – but after our day at the races, I am now much more comfortable to take Amy again. It was so much more family-friendly than I had anticipated. There were activities for children of all ages and the concert in the evening as well as cheering for your horse were a great way to bring everyone together. Ascot Premier Admission

We had a fantastic day and will hopefully be back next summer. Royal Ascot seems really tempting now. I might be German and no horse racing expert, but I am still a massive fan of the Royal family, so seeing them enjoy a day by the race track just like me – okay, they might be drinking champagne, while I enjoy some cherry cider – sounds like the perfect day out for me.

Have you ever attended a horse race, maybe even Ascot? I’d love to hear about your day! Did you enjoy yourself? Did you place a winning bet and most of all fascinator – yes or no?

Disclosure: We were provided with a free family ticket to experience a day at Ascot Racecourse. 

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Freelance writer and translator that blogs about her adventure as a first time mummy and has a passion for pretty stationery, magazines and interior design.

29 Comments

  1. Looks like you had a fab day & great pictures. I’m not into the whole horse racing lark but 2 years ago went to both Ascot & Newbury & they were both a great day out…& I wore a fascinator & dress to both!!
    Helen recently posted…Chocolate and Cherry CakeMy Profile

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  2. Ooo how lovely and what a super looking day out! Fancy bumping into the Barrow too! Although she’s looking very wistful in that photo, I wonder what was going on in her mind?
    Somewhere I’ve never been or even thought of going but your photos make it look so glorious I may have to consider it now!
    Mammasaurus recently posted…Photographs of Savoca, SicilyMy Profile

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    • I had never considered going, let alone taking Amy, but we really had a great time and there was so much to do for kids of all ages that it makes for a fabulous family day x

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  3. Looks like a fab day out and how lovely to bump into so many epic people.
    I have to admit I’ve never been and know nothing either – it is on my list of things to do.
    I can’t imagine anything less than a dress fitting in – because we have the Gold Cup here and I’ve seen the women dressed up in the playground before going off to it (especially for ladies day).

    So you don’t think a pushchair is a good idea to thoroughly enjoy the day?
    Pinkoddy recently posted…What is your Worth and How is it Measured?My Profile

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    • Oh yes, it’s definitely a good idea to take a pushchair. It’s such a long day that it’s good to have a pushchair with you when they get tired. The pushchair was only a hindrance when it came to the concert as it would have just been a nightmare to get through the masses of people x

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    • Thanks Becky, it was a fabulous day and we were so lucky with the weather too :)

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  4. What utterly stunning pictures you take, so crisp and clear, but lovely captures of everybody too. Have never been to Ascot, had no idea there was family stuff to do too!

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    • Thanks so much, Penny. I didn’t know it was that family-friendly either until we were invited, but there were lots of activities for kids available and no one bat an eye lid when they saw the girls racing around x

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  5. Lovely picture of andrea. its not very often you can catch her in one now days.

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    • Thanks, Sarah. She had no choice really – Michael and I both liked it and she says it’s one of the better ones (I think she looks lovely), so it had to go up ;)

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    • She really wasn’t and this is the friendliest picture of them all. There were big crocodile tears and upset sobs, bless her x

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  6. oh that looks like such a sophisticated day out and also a lot of fun too. Your little ones look just adorable. The picture with Amy i wonder what she was thinking with that big mascot horse next to her

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    • Aww thanks so much, Helen. Only the left one is mine, but Sophie is just as adorable. They’re such little cuties ;)

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    • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – having photogenic objects helps a lot ;)

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  7. Glad you all enjoyed your day and the weather was sunny! Lovely photos too and I am loving Sophie’s poppy dress! Oh and doesn’t your hubby look like David Metcalfe from Emmerdale!!! ???? A compliament by the way!

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